It may sound hokey, Amy Maguire says, but the plates she makes out of her kids’ drawings were the starting point for the decor of her family’s vacation home on Scraggy Neck in the Bourne village of Cataumet. “They’re so colorful and show all the fun we have here; they really express the energy of our family.”
With five kids ages 3 to 13, the family is nothing if not energetic. Luckily, they are able to bike, swim, kayak, motorboat, and play tennis all summer on the island-like peninsula that Maguire calls “a little slice of heaven.”
Like Amy, whose parents discovered Scraggy Neck almost 30 years ago, husband Mike grew up going to the Cape. Eager to re-create the magic of idyllic summers for their children, the Hingham couple purchased land in 2006 and the following year hired Duxbury-based architect William Lee to design the 3,200-square-foot cedar-shingle house. Lee’s plans called for “traditional bones with touches of whimsy.” The couple broke ground in 2012, working closely with builder Paul Pacella of Post & Beam of Cape Cod in Sandwich on every last detail. The family moved in last summer.
The home’s colors — pops of Crayola primaries against a white backdrop — are indeed identical to the kids’ artwork on the plates. Maguire knew that with white walls as her canvas, she could add whatever catches her eye. And since the vibe is casual, nothing really has to match. “I’ll find Portuguese plates at an antique shop, then add something from HomeGoods,” she says.
The kitchen features furniture-like cabinetry designed by Lewis & Weldon of Hyannis, and an oversize island painted a rich yellow (Castilian Gold by Pratt & Lambert) is the focal point. “Everybody down the Cape goes with blues or teals,” says Maguire. “But yellow is the color of the sun.”
Honed countertops of black Jet Mist granite, chosen for its similarity to soapstone (minus the maintenance), lend a cottage feel and anchor the white cabinetry. Open shelving is dotted with colorful dishware. Reclaimed-wood seats on stools from Restoration Hardware (one for each kid, as well as extra sturdy) echo the stained oak floor. Overhead, clear glass bell pendants from Pottery Barn hang from the glossy bead-board ceiling.
At one end of the sun-splashed island is a sub-island with a prep sink nestled into walnut butcher block that Maguire requested. “My mom couldn’t believe I was going to actually cut on it,” she says. “Of course I do. It’s not just for the look!”
The kitchen opens onto a comfortable living room, with a patchwork rug from Company C and navy slipcovered sofa. The piece was “a steal” from Furniture Consignment Gallery in Plymouth, where Maguire also bought a cherry four-poster bed for the master bedroom. “I wanted furniture with memories attached to it,” she says.
The other side of the kitchen opens onto a large screen porch with a stone-faced fireplace, the family’s favorite spot to spend time together. “When you’re designing a summer home, you want to go from inside to out seamlessly,” says Pacella. “This works phenomenally.” Plus, the ipe-wood flooring requires no upkeep, nor does the indoor/outdoor furniture. Maguire says, “I just hose the whole thing down.”
Upstairs are three bedrooms and two bathrooms, which can be reached from different rooms, depending on who’s visiting. (The kids have more than 30 first cousins.) The main kids’ bathroom sink is a heavy-duty cast-iron trough that’s easy to clean and absent a counter to smear with toothpaste or litter with junk.
A unisex bedroom — all four older kids sleep there — features three sets of bunks built by master carpenter Norman Couture: two sets of extra-long twins and a set of doubles, so they’ll still be comfortable when they’re in college. The bunks have shiny metal rails, ship-like ladders, and marine-style sconces. Here, too, the color scheme is bright-on-white.
While the Maguires’ year-round place in Hingham is “timeless and taupe,” their vacation home is young, fresh, and informal, reflecting both the family and the season they use it. “Summer is about escape and having fun,” Maguire says, “which means taking yourself out of your comfort zone, even when you’re decorating.”